Hello my lovely people-- yes the headliner is correct, I went to Istanbul the other weekend! Now let me tell you all about it-- We decided to take a bus overnight on Thursday and arrive Friday morning to begin our adventure.... but little did we realize that we would 1. get there at 6 am, or 2. get dropped off at a random bus station 20 miles away from Taxim (where we needed to be). It was pouring rain and cold as hell, not to mention it was just me, Holly, and Lauren. But we were not going to let that bring us down so we hailed a cab and ended up in Taxim Square 30TL later. We took the metro down to Sultanahmet and began our day (we even beat all the Asian tourists).
On Friday we decided to do every touristy thing possible and see how much free stuff we could get. We went to all the must sees--- the Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, the Cistern, The Islamic Art Museum, the Archaeology Museum, the Mosaic Museum and many other things that I forget. The Hagia Sofia was amazing, if nothing more that for it's sheer size. It was HUGE and beautiful. The mosaics were breathtaking and incredibly old (from Justinian the 1st). The blue mosque was nice, but I have to say I like the big mosque in Ankara better. The Islamic Art Museum was really amazing, espcially the rugs! There were these amazing 15th and 16th century Early Ottoman Empire rugs with vibrant and saturated reds, blues and oranges (acutally all the colors). There IS a reason why Turkey is famous for textiles.
oh yeah and I randomly saw the "Dicscus Thrower" in the archaeology museum. Real tight.
Later that night we made our way back to Taxim to meet up with our awesome couchsurfing dude. If you don't know what couchsurfing is, it's basically like facebook for travelers who are looking to host or stay with people from around the world. It's an amazing invention and a great way to travel on the cheap.---- anyways, I was super tired ( and super lame) and went to bed a couple of hours later. The girls came home at three in the morning with some vague story of Baduk, wine and a cab driver. I felt ok about sleeping...
On Saturday it was cold and rainy so we decided to hit up the Grand Bazaar and the Spice market. I didn't particularly love the Grand Bazaar... it was pretty big and everything sort of started to look the same. It was however very interesting to hear the people yell at us to buy their 'special items'. We got everything from "spice girls" to "charlie's angles". It was entertaining to say the least. Our next destination was the spice market which was a little bit of a hike, but well worth it. The spice market was less intense and way more yummy than the bazaar. I bought many different kinds of dried fruit and nuts along with some cool evil eye bracelets (Mike M that's for you!).
After a long day of roaming we went back home and took a well deserved nap followed by a dank dinner. Late we met up with some of our hosts friends and experienced the Istanbul night life which was pretty crazy and a great change of pace. I heard everything from MJ to the Bee Gees that night and danced my booty off!
Over all it was a great trip. Istanbul has a real spirit, I really felt alive when I was there. I plan on going back in the near future. This weekend I think we may be going south to somewhere warm.. not to sure yet. And for spring break I will be doing the NE and SE of Turkey with some Bilkent students. I'm ready to see different parts of the country--- I think we're hiking too which is tight.
What else... oh yeah I bought a ticket to Prague to visit Rose and Kelsey for a week-- nothing else even needs to be said:)